Blame it on Flipboard, but the days when getting the latest news update meant opening a messy RSS reader are now passe. Now, you can get apps that deliver news to you in the way in which it is meant to be read - in digital newspaper/magazine form. And these five apps do it best of all.
Flipboard (iOS and Android)
Perhaps the best known of all the RSS-as-newspaper apps, Flipboard (read our review) has got almost cult status. The news reader app lets you subscribe to a number of channels (you can add your own as well as choose from some that have been specially prepared by Flipboard) and based on your choice, presents them to you in the form of a flippable book, complete with images and videos. Pretty cool, especially if you consider that you can also check your Facebook, Twitter and Google feeds here as well. There are special localised editions for some countries as well. We do wish the Android version was more tablet-friendly though.
The Early Edition 2 (iOS)
The battle between the supporters of Flipboard and The Early Edition is as vicious as that between those of Tintin and Asterix, with each claiming superiority. While each has its strengths, there is no doubt that for pure news hunters, The Early Edition (The Early Edition 2 being its latest avatar) is THE app to go to, with its ability to transform and blend feeds into a newspaper-like appearance with silky smooth page turnovers and a column-based layout. Top that off with a very good offline reading option and we think the app does more than enough to justify its price tag.
Available from: iTunes App Store
Zite (iOS, Android, and Windows Phone)
“Personalised magazine” is the term used for Zite (read our review), and it certainly fits the bill. Unlike the other apps mentioned in this piece, this is a side scrolling app, rather than a “page turning” one. What’s more, it is an excellent option for those who want to get their news without having to bother too much about choosing individual sources. Zite’s system works around your choosing sections (and there are plenty of those) and then leaving it to the app to bring the best news under each to your device. An excellent option for those who wish to get their news in a smooth interface with minimum fuss.
There are those who dismiss Evri as being just a Flipboard clone. However, there is a lot more to the app. Yes, it does convert news feeds into magazine-like content, giving you the option to choose between different channels. But where it stands out is in the fact that it not just shows you a story but also keeps displaying you links to related topics. In terms of layout, it is a sidescroller with a single columnar layout, but it works very smoothly indeed. It comes with Facebook and Twitter aggregation as well, for good measure.
Available from: iTunes App Store
Google Currents (Android and iOS)
It might not quite be the Flipboard killer that many Google fans hoped it would be, but Google Currents (read our review) remains a very decent app for those who want to read their news with a bit of style. The launch screen remains a tad drab, but pick the sites you wish to follow and the app converts them into neat digital magazines, which you can flick through at your leisure. No, it is not as smooth as Flipboard or Early Edition, but it more than compensates with the absence of a price tag and information delivery.